Leviathan II

In the natural state, some people may be stronger or wiser than others, but no one is strong enough or wise enough not to fear death by violence. Since everyone instinctively needs more, and in fact everything is insufficient, people need to fight for more, all against all.

However, fighting in a natural state is not the optimal solution. Driven by self-interest at its most essential, people will want to end fights – “the zeal that tends toward peace is the fear of death, the desire for the things necessary for a comfortable life and the diligent hope of acquiring them”. When death is becoming a threat, people will do everything possible to protect themselves, so this is the highest necessity to avoid death and become the source of power. People cede their degrees of freedom to authority in order to protect their own survival and rights. However, everyone has different demands for individual rights. How to coordinate the relationship between people and authority?

Rousseau proposed the theory of “general will” to resolve the relationship between people and authority. The development of society makes it necessary for society to develop a common force that protects the individual’s personal and property. Rousseau believes that people’s rights such as freedom and equality belong to individuals, but the law that collects the will of all people belongs to the national level. On the premise of excluding the rich or powerful groups from curbing the expression of personal will, individuals form a general will by fully expressing their will, and then rise to “law” through a “judge” with divine status, so as to promote the formation of a reasonable and legitimate state power source.

But even so, the “general will” is still insufficient to represent the will of all citizens. So authority compartmentalize people and confer different identities to different people. These identities are apparently not equal, although some authorities do not admit this. It is through the distinction between the hierarchy that the authority achieves solid rule.

By means of the Jewish national cleansing, the will of the head of state was almost fulfilled. Some Eastern countries also fought protracted wars in which people were divided into the capitalist and the proletariat. In the subsequent massacre in Rwanda, Hutu and Husi slaughtered each other, eventually leading to genocide.

It is human nature to seek sanctuary and social belonging. By joining a collective, one can gain power, a sense of security, and overcome the powerlessness in the face of an increasingly highly organized society. These identities become their psychological refuge. To gain group acceptance through some kind of identity loyalty.

As a Chinese, the easiest challenge to “general will” is patriotism. Everything seems to end up being classified as “patriotic” or “unpatriotic.” From whether you can go out during the epidemic isolation, to whether you buy a Huawei phone.

Naturally, these “general wills” are not groundless but carefully deliberated by some people who have an axe to grind. Given the multiple identities of each of us, how should identity loyalty be prioritized? Do we have the right to decide our own identities? Can we fuck the bewitching and demagoguery of those careerists off?

Mr. Tagore’s words may serve as an answer to this question: “Patriotism cannot be our last spiritual refuge; The last refuge is human nature. I will not buy glass at the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live.”

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